A to be or not to be situation for the Mehtas'

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{image-niketa mehta_05082008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Refusal of the Bombay High Court for the abortion of the 24 week old foetus of Niketa Mehta has created mixed reactions among people towards the case. Of which, the reason for the abortion, after effects of retaining the baby and the amendment of the laws towards abortion are the matters of concern.

The Mehta's baby has been diagnosed with a congenital heart block wherein there is a complete heart blockage with low ventricular rate and a disposition of artery.Transposition of great arteries (TGA) causes what is known as cyanotic heart disease that causes mixing of arterial and venous blood that will bring down the efficiency of blood to carry oxygen. The diabetic mothers are more prone to such ailments. Some of the doctors in the city are of the opinion that such pregnancies when carried forward can create problems both for the mother and the child. So it would be ethical to save the mother, they say.

"Congenital diseases are commonly found in western countries and it is one of the most common reasons for the death of babies between age groups of 0-5 years. 20 to 30 pc 100,000 live births face this chronic ailment. Some of the cases can be detected as early as in the womb and some at the birth.The survival chances are minimal and even after birth, the mortality rate in untreated cases are 30 per cent which will raise to 90 per cent by the end of its first year."

The ailment can be diagnosed only during the second trimester (between fourth to sixth month) and the baby will undergo long term complications.

The decision of the court of law when refused the abortion has agitated many of them. Many opine that the court of law should accomodate amendments regarding abortion.But the law makers denied the amendment saying that Niketa's case does not set an example for amendment.

Niketa Mehta's case

Niketa Mehta is 24 weeks pregnant but she wants to abort because the foetus has been diagnosed with a congenital heart problem. According to the law, pregnancy cannot be terminated after the twentieth week unless there is a health risk for the mother.

“I am firm that I don't want this baby because the baby will suffer after birth. My suffering and my family's suffering is another story," says Niketa.

Doctors say the probability of the foetus surviving nine months is very low and even if the child is born he or she will have to be fitted with a pacemaker, which will have to be replaced after every four years.

However, medical experts are of the opinion that by doing so Niketa is also putting herself at risk in the process.

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